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Undocumented Students and Parents on the FAFSA

a form asking for a social security number


Undocumented students are not eligible for U.S. federal student aid, but are sometimes eligible for state and institutional financial aid. Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have undocumented parents are eligible for federal student aid.

Although some data on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is verified through a database match with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), this database match is not used for immigration enforcement. It is solely used to determine eligibility for need-based student financial aid.

Instructions for Undocumented Students

Undocumented students are not eligible for federal student aid, even if they have a work-only Social Security Number because of the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.

Some colleges ask international students and undocumented students to file the FAFSA as a convenient way of getting the student’s data into the college’s administrative software systems. These students should select “No, I am not a citizen or eligible non-citizen” on the FAFSA.

Some states provide financial aid or discounted, in-state tuition for undocumented students. Each state has its own procedures for undocumented students.

For example, undocumented California students who are AB540 eligible should apply for state aid using the California Dream Act Application, not the FAFSA. Undocumented students do not need to be DACA-certified to qualify for state aid under the California Dream Act.

The California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), which provides California state student financial aid to undocumented students through the California Dream Act application, does not share application information with the federal government and does not use the information for immigration enforcement. The California Dream Act Application web site is SSL encrypted.

Instructions for Undocumented Parents

If a student’s parents are undocumented, they should use 000-00-0000 instead of a Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).

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